11 July 2008

"Parcels in garage, key in my pocket"

As I work nights, I sleep by day. This often means that I miss the postman when he turns up and, if he has the usual four-storey high pile of QVC parcels containing tat ordered by the Natural Blonde, he rings the doorbell and I get out of my slumber to answer.

Yesterday, however, I slept entirely through the knocks and rings. When I rose in the afternoon, I found a pile of parcels in the garage. Postie normally doesn't do this. If I fail to respond to the doorbell, usually there's a card put through the letterbox and the packages are taken back to the post office for one of us (or, to be accurate, me) to collect later.

This time, however, I stumbled over this pile of parcels in my garage when I went in there to check on the dogs. Fine, except the garage keys, which I'd left in the lock so I could access the dogs more quickly in an emergency, were now missing. I'd not been immediately able to find them when I first got up, so I grabbed the spare to open up and found these parcels. The regular keys were nowhere to be seen.

You know how this works - it's like leaving a key for your neighbour while you're on holiday or for your kids when you go out earlier than planned and you're not sure if they can get in the house. You leave a key under a plant pot, don't you? Well, we have six of them in our back garden and there was no bunch of keys under any of them.

I can only assume that postie, who my village branch tell me wasn't the regular delivery chap, had unwittingly slipped the keys into his pocket after re-locking the garage as if they were his own. Either that or he's hidden them fantastically well - and then forgotten to scribble the location on one of the regular envelopes delivered in the conventional manner. I doubt it's anything more sinister.

However, it does mean that I am currently unable to access the dog run as its padlock key is on the same ring as the missing garage key, and there's no spare. Therefore, when I next need to get in there to do some shovelling of waste, I'll have to climb over. I'm 35 and should be beyond scaling fences and walls, frankly.

I write this as I await a call from the branch where this one-off postie came from. I really don't want to have to change the garage locks and smash up a perfectly good padlock, but let's see. And I'm banning the Natural Blonde from ordering QVC stuff. She sends most of it back anyway.

EDIT: Literally 45 seconds after publishing this post, the branch has telephoned me - and the postie did have my keys and can't explain why.

Great forgotten songs of the 1990s - #11

"And you know something's wrong when the morning hurts your eyes..."

You ain't from round here, are you boy?

Alex is coming home this weekend - I hope you've followed his progress via his blog. Driving across the USA for a month and avoiding the obvious cities and sights in order to discover the "authentic" new country is something that I wouldn't have a) the nerve; or b) the finance to do.

He returns to Radio 2 on Monday. One craze sweeping the loyal nocturnalists who listen to The Best Time Of The Day is the Knee Gallery. This is a gallery of listeners' knees - just their bare knees, nothing else - as if to discover the beauty and versatility of the humble human patella.

What amuses me is that there is a disclaimer on the Knee Gallery, stating that the Radio 2 website can only show your knees if you are 18 or over. This suggests to me that a) there is something unduly wrong or irresponsible about showing the knees of a minor; and b) such underage knee footage could possibly arouse someone in a way we'd rather not ponder. On both counts - what nonsense!

8 July 2008

Beer today, gone tomorrow

On Sunday evening I made my semi-regular trip to my local to meet long-haired Tony, exchange boyish stories and drink fine ale. Tony only drinks the guest beers and insists that his pint is headless - as a consequence his poured tipple looks less than palatable, but it's to his taste.

However, when I arrived at the bar I discovered, with horror and surprise, that they had run out of beer.

This is only a mild exaggeration. Due to some delivery mix-up or general staffing incompetence, only one of the pumps had any product to pump. That was, fortunately for Tony, one of the guest beers. The two John Smiths pumps - smooth and cold - were empty. So were the equivalent for Guinness, my drink of choice. The three lagers were down too. And so were the other two guest beers.

This meant that everyone - and this was quiz night, so it was well filled with customers, the type of middle-aged punter that visits the pub once a week in a smart shirt as the main social activity of his week - found themselves looking at their fingernails and mumbling that it was all a bit unfortunate. Then their eyes, and mine were among them, fixed on the fridges at the bottles.

There was one Newcy Brown there. That had my name on it, and I got it. The barmaid dutifully nipped down to the cellar after serving me and came back with three more. Sadly, by the time I returned to the bar for a second go, they'd all gone. Every single beer drinker in this rapidly dehydrating tavern had to go for that bottled Corona stuff or drink the guest beer favoured by a grinning Tony, even though everyone else I heard whining at the bar had labelled this particular ale "disgusting".

Going somewhere else was not an option as there is only one other pub in the village and that keeps closing down due to trouble finding anyone to manage the place. I did toy with nipping to the local Spar, buying a six pack of Guinness and sneaking it back in, but it was gone 10pm and our Spar hasn't grasped the concept of 24-hour opening just yet. So I struggled down some bottled lager, fresh from the cellar and therefore not exactly cold, and unrepentantly expensive.

And we were dreadful at the quiz.

I left the pub sober, irritated and about half an hour earlier than normal for a Sunday evening.

Have you ever known a pub run out almost completely of ale and yet still stay open, cheerily telling its regulars that it had barely any of its wares? Most odd. Most odder that the punters stuck around, though the quiz does have decent prizes and there's a pub tote and also a few quid up for grabs on a Play Your Cards Right game. No crate of ale as one of the prizes, mind.

It's okay, indeed almost expected, to test the loyalty of your regulars when there is no other pub in the village. You can fairly test their loyalty by putting on live music or darts nights or karaoke and the like. But to test their loyalty by cocking up the one thing pubs thrive on - a suitably inexhaustive range of intoxicating liquors - is extremely risky.

7 July 2008

Your starter for ten

University Challenge embraces the Premier League's glamorous new club.

6 July 2008

Short memory

Harry Kewell has joined Galatasaray.

As if the fans of Leeds United, the club that brought him up, didn't dislike him enough for the way he flitted to Liverpool; now he joins the club which Leeds have the absolute right to despise.